Tommy's Chili Recipe -
Tommy's Chili Recipe
  • READY IN hrs

Tommy's Chili

Recipe by  

"This recipe dates back to 1946. It has the right combination of water, flour, broth, and spices to create a thick, tomatoless chili con carne."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    40 mins

    1 hr 30 mins


  1. Place the beef in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Transfer beef to a strainer over a saucepan, and allow grease to drain for about 5 minutes. Mix any drippings remaining in skillet into the saucepan. There should be about 1/2 cup drippings. Return beef to skillet.
  2. Heat the beef drippings in the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually mix in 1/4 cup flour. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 10 minutes, stirring continuously, to form a golden brown roux. Pour in the beef broth, and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the water into the skillet with the beef, and mix in remaining flour. Stir in the roux mixture, chili powder, carrot, vinegar, onion, salt, sugar, paprika, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking 15 minutes, until thickened. When it's done cooking, take the chili off the heat, cover it, and let it sit for 30 minutes before using it on burgers, etc. It should thicken to a tasty brown paste as it sits.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jul 20, 2009

This recipe needs some background. This is the recipe for the chili to Original Tommy's Hamburgers, located in the Los Angeles area. It has a number of devotees. Thus this chili belongs on your hamburger, hot dog, or french fries, not eaten alone. I am not affiliated with him, but he should get the credit for a job well done. It tastes just like the real thing, and we enjoy it immensely.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 07, 2007

So where do I start.... First off, I do believe the Tommy's Recipe is worth making; but not to be eaten, rather to be used as a base for other chili. With that said, The two star rating is for the outcome of the original recipe. To call the final product a paste is quite generous. I would classify it more like a chili cake. This recipe contains way too much flour and the cooking process doesn't account for all of the flour in the recipe. The final product was dense, and almost inedible. HOWEVER, I took advantage of the density and the thickening capability of this "chili cake" and used it as a flavor and thickening base for another chili. If interested, continue reading and take a look at the recipe I made using the Tommy's Recipe as a base. **RECIPE** 1. 1 small onion, 2 TBS Olive Oil, 3 Cloves of fresh garlic...pureed in blender or small chopper. 2. In large pot over medium heat, saute puree for 3-4 minutes. 3. Add 2 TBS Chili Powder, 2 tsp paprika, and one large beef bouillon cube; saute until bouillon is dissolved. (make sure to stir as to not burn the spices) 4. Add 12oz of very lean ground beef to the pot and saute just until brown. 5. Add 1 TBS of tomato paste, 2 cups of the "Tommy's Chili" and 1 cup of water to the mix. 6. Whisk mixture until well combined and let simmer for 20 minutes. NOW you have an excellent, thick, dense chili capable of using for hot dogs, burgers, or just eating straight.


17 Ratings

Oct 28, 2007

Thanks to JasonN for helping "salvage" the Original Tommy's recipe. By using your variation, the chili turned out to be delicious!

Jan 26, 2010

Tommy's Chili Recipe. I really love Tommy Burgers and being 2000 miles away from Cali now I really miss them. 3 Years ago I ordered 1 gallon of chili from Tommy's and had it shipped. I parted out all the chili and froze it. I just made this recipe exactly as the directions said and I've got to say although it's a good chili it's definitely not Tommy's Chili.

May 27, 2008

a floury paste

Jan 21, 2008

I think the point of the recipe was tomato-less chili. Not everyone can have tomatoes due to allergies. Thanks for the input on changing things around. Do you have an appropriate substitute for tomatoes?

Feb 11, 2009

The recipie was not bad, but PLEASE do not use 2 teaspoons of salt! I think my hearts gonna explode! I'm still trying to water it down.

Mar 07, 2011

You Have to and I stress 'Have' to use ground beef with fat. Lean ground beef will not give you enough fat for the rue that is needed. The Recipes tells you stir flour and drippings until golden brown. That is a must to create the flavor base or else you will end up with a floury paste. Brown the hec out of it without burning it and it will taste like Tommy's chili intended for a topping on dogs and fries. As the other reviewer states it is not a chili to be eaten alone. Top that dog with it and a pile of onions, cheese and jalapenos and enjoy.


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  • Calories
  • 271 kcal
  • 14%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 27.6 g
  • 9%
  • Cholesterol
  • 46 mg
  • 15%
  • Fat
  • 10 g
  • 15%
  • Fiber
  • 2.5 g
  • 10%
  • Protein
  • 17.1 g
  • 34%
  • Sodium
  • 1042 mg
  • 42%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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